NPR

Bill Of The Month: A Tale Of 2 CT Scanners — One Richer, One Poorer

Why is the price of a CT scan 33 times higher in an hospital emergency room than in an outpatient imaging center just down the street?
Source: Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Benjamin Hynden, a financial adviser in Fort Myers, Fla., hadn't been feeling well for a few weeks last fall. He'd had pain and discomfort in his abdomen.

In October, he finally made an appointment to see his doctor about it. "It wasn't severe," he says. "It was just kind of bothersome. It just kind of annoyed me during the day."

The doctor, John Ardesia, checked him out and referred him to a nearby imaging center for a CT scan, or CAT scan as it used to be called. The radiologist didn't see anything wrong on the images, and Ardesia didn't recommend any treatment.

A few weeks later, Hynden, who has a high-deductible health insurance policy with Cigna, got a bill for $268. He paid it and

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